Does living on a boat get old? What’s it like as a western woman travelling in Muslim countries? These are just two of the questions put to us by you that we are answering in a new series of Q&A sessions. Each week, Liz and Jamie will take it in turns to answer two questions related to living on a boat, from technical to sailing tips to travel and culture. If YOU have a question you’d like us to answer, get in touch or leave a comment. We’ve included the two videos in this post.
Apart from the deep joy of discovering that our engine has seized, it feels like some kind of nautical episode of ‘Back to the Future’ here on SY Esper
Our regular Sailing Log Diary on YouTube–which out of necessity runs a few months behind real time–shows Jamie sailing alone in Thailand with Liz back in the UK looking after her ailing mum. And yet, right now, Liz has just returned from her >second visit home to tend to Dottie while Jamie has been solo-sailing in Thailand.
In the words of Shirley Bassey and the Propellerheads , “…it’s all just a little bit of history repeating…”
Jamie: I find it curious that in a world of increasing communication, where we know more about our neighbours now than we’ve ever done, where we should have a better understanding of those of different cultures and countries, the borders between us are closing. With all this knowledge at our finger-tips we seem to becoming more paranoid, more xenophobic and less trusting of our fellow human beings. Has it always been this way? The impression I get from speaking to old-time sailors is ‘no’.
For the last few months our followtheboat updates have centred around our refit. This is all very well if you’re interested in boats, mechanics, engineering, painting and/or dusty Thai boatyards, but some of you are probably missing our travel stories and photos. Fear not, because Liz has just revamped her travel writing website and, right now, she’s getting more hits than followtheboat!
Politics in paradise? Backpacking through the atolls? The Maldives may be a luxury holiday destination, but people still have to make a living, and political agendas are alive and kicking. Taking inspiration from India’s homestays, Maldivians are opening up their houses to travellers. Liz describes the two islands on the next part of our trip, and profiles the new generation of Maldivians looking for a fairer future.
Having dropped anchor in Uligamu, after a frustrating four-day crossing from Cochin, India, we put our worries to one side with a wander along the desolate beach of the Maldive’s most northern (but one) island. This is a little photography slide-show for your entertainment. Just click on the image below to begin and don’t forget you can view it in full-screen mode to get that “I’m-really-there!” sensation!
The Kathri Suma family of Gujarat is the only family using this technique of cloth decoration. It is unique to this one village. In this clip you’ll see my photographs and some video of the family at work. The black scarf at the end of the clip is a present we bought for a friend who helped out organising my photography courses. Thank you, Karen!
My Christmas came early this year. I’m chuffed to announce that I won October’s Guardian ‘Been There’ travel photography competition! The theme was ‘Weather’ and I submitted an image of school girls splashing their way through a monsoon puddle.
Portrait of a Blacksmith – taken in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
I was pretty stoked to get my Bedouin shot chosen by Lyn Hughes as her photo of the week on the MyWanderlust website. Lyn is owner/editor of the independent travel magazine and recently visited Jordan herself, so perhaps my shot brought back a few memories for her!
As the world has its eye on the 2012 Olympics, we watch a group of Gorkha schools racing, fighting and performing cultural dances in the Himalayas. The competition is no less fierce than it is in east London, but some of the events are surprising. Cock fighting, anyone?
As I heave myself on to the local ferry, camera slung over my shoulder, a group of kids lean over and shout ‘Which country? Which country?’.
‘England’, I reply, ‘but I live here now. I’ve been in Cochin for two years’. The children look puzzled until I add ‘I’m now Indian, India is my home. Look!’. I hold up my wrist next to theirs and joke ‘Same colour!’. The children burst into fits of giggles and I half smile, hoping I can convince them that India is indeed my home, at least for the moment.
Our last blog post on our trip to Sikkim ends with a photo-montage of the Limboo people. As you read in our last post we spent some time with out guide, Perna, and his family. They reside in the village of Darap in an old house passed down through the generations. Perna lives in relative luxury with a TV in his room, but the main house is like something out the dark ages. We were privileged to be allowed to spend a morning with these gentle people, even more so that they patiently allowed us to snoop around their house and photograph them going about their daily chores, which was mainly drinking salted tea and cooking pop-corn.
Ever been to Shangri-la? We have. It’s alive and kicking in Sikkim. Almost anywhere in Sikkim, outside a large town or tourist area, will do. We found our lost horizon in Darap, near Pelling. Two hundred year old houses growing out of the side of the mountain in which tiny people and chickens share their home with you is not something that happens every day. An afternoon getting high on hooch in the Himalayas is something to remember.
Liz has very kindly omitted the tale of our 17km trek to Kechopari Lake. In a nutshell it is the story of a 40 year old man realising his limitations. Realising them in a way that involves clutching the left arm, breathing like a 100 year old, having to walk backwards up hairpin tracks to avoid the constantly seizing leg muscles, all the while watching his girlfriend skip gaily by, light as a feather, hopping from leaf to cobweb like a woodland fairy.
A view of the sunset from Bolgatty Island, where we live.
A submission for the theme Decay. Rather than go for an old, battered, black and white decayed look, I took a photograph of a decaying sign just on my doorstep (the Bolgatty ferry pick-up point) and brightened it up.
I should probably save this photograph for the #SunsetSaturday submission, but I couldn’t resist popping this one up now. It is the view just before I catch the ferry back to Bolgatty Island from Ernakulam. In the far distance are the famous Chinese fishing nets.
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